Black Women Abroad: Studying Abroad in Panama & Trinidad

Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a different culture. Alieshia loved it so much she did it twice! Learn about her experience in Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

Alieshia in Trinidad
What inspired you to Study abroad? Why did you choose that particular country?

I really just wanted to travel somewhere and getting credit for it was an even better reason. I actually studied abroad twice. The first time was in Panama because I wanted to minor in Spanish. I wanted to learn the language and I had never been to a Spanish speaking country, so I thought it would be cool. The second time I went to Trinidad and Tobago. I learned about the program from a Pan-African Studies class I took.

What were The costs associated with The programs?

Each program cost $3,500. The only extra expenses were my passport, vaccines, and any spending money I wanted to bring.

Did you find it difficult to adjust to your new country?

Since Panama is a Spanish speaking country and very few people speak English, it was difficult to adjust. In Trinidad and Tobago there wasn’t a language barrier, but it still took me some time to get acclimated. I had to get used to the local accent and the prices for food were outrageous, at least in my eyes as an American.

Posing in Panama
How did you stay on budget while studying abroad?

I took $500 with me. I knew the amount of days I would be there and divided my money based on food, activities, and souvenirs. One great thing about studying abroad was that all the activities and sightseeing were included in the fees of the program. 

What is one of your favorite memories from this experience? What surprised you?

When I was in Trinidad and Tobago I got to be a part of history by participating in the Emancipation Day parade.  My favorite memory from Panama was visiting the Panama Canal! 

The most surprising part of my time in Panama was the diversity of the residents. In Trinidad and Tobago, I learned how central celebrations are in Caribbean culture. I liked it so much that I wanted to move there.

On the beach in Panama
Do you envision yourself living abroad permanently?

I wouldn’t say permanently, but I definitely envision going on an adult gap year when I turn 30.

What advice would you give you to people considering Studying abroad?

Connect with your professors and the study abroad office, apply for scholarships, ask for money and research the country you are going to on your own. 

Black Women Abroad Series

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